North of England

The academies programme is gathering real pace in the North. There are currently over 480 academies and free schools open in the North.

Our evidence shows that there is a rapidly increasing number of governing bodies that are actively thinking about the opportunities that converting to academy status may bring. In thinking about applying to become an academy, most governing bodies are looking to convert with other schools, creating or joining a multi-academy trust. We’ve therefore seen an upward trend in the number of MATs operating in the region – today there are more than 130, and there are over 80 approved sponsors who are ready to support schools that are not currently delivering a high standard of education.

As the academies and free schools programme develops further, we know there will be more need for academy sponsors to work in the North region. Strong leadership and governance is key to the success of our multi-academy trusts.

The RSC is actively signposting MAT leaders and executive headteachers to the Academy Ambassadors programme to help match developing MATs with successful business leaders from the North region. Several MATs in the region are now actively recruiting through the programme and 76 non-executive directors/ trustees have already been placed in trusts in the region. We have had excellent early feedback from the MATs involved on the impact the non-executives from business are already having within their trusts.

Janet Renou, Regional Schools Commissioner for the North of England